Clients’ stories

Debra has been a resident of Mount Waverley for over 30 years and has been a client of South East Volunteers for 5 years. Debra says that owning a car is not feasible for her due to financial limitations that come with living off a limited pension.

She also has problems with her vision which means that she is not entirely comfortable behind the wheel. Reliance on transport from relatives is troublesome since it requires family members taking time off work and there are only a limited number of times that this is possible. It also impinges on her sense of autonomy and independence.

Debra cannot use public transport as walking the distance to transport stops is not possible. She describes her experiences with taxi services as discourteous and expensive.

However, SEV’s transport service allows Debra to be picked from her home, dropped to the service and returned back to her home without the limitations of other types of transport. The service is affordable, maintains her sense of autonomy and does not cause her unnecessary pain walking to transport stops.

Debra says the volunteer drivers have a positive demeanor and they go “the extra mile” in order to ensure her security. They walk directly by her side from her house to the car, assist her with seat belts and ensure they are properly fastened, and she was impressed with the overall gentleness, punctuality and professionalism of the drivers.

Debra says the SEV Transport Service is “wonderfully helpful” and “an asset to the community [she] is very grateful for.”

 

Michael is an 83-year-old man living in Glen Waverley. He has been living in his house for the past 40 years and has been a widower for the last 7 years.

As a client of SEV’s Social Support Program, he receives invitations to go on outings such as the men’s lunch, movie trips and musical events. In Michael’s words, “What’s beautiful about these outings are the friends you make just brighten up your day.”

After Michael’s wife died, he didn’t have many opportunities to interact with other people, aside from the occasional visit from his son, who works a lot. A neighbor recommended SEV and so he called in to inquire about the possibility of attending a few outings. Now a regular client, he is able to remain connected to other people of the same age group and has made a few good friends. The movie trips also allow him to indulge in his passion of watching film, while providing a value-for-money service.

When asked how he would be affected if SEV stopped carrying out its services, he said that he wouldn’t have much to look forward to each week. He would also be more reliant on his busy son to bring him out, something that he would not want to do.

 

Stanley has been on the Safety Register since 2003. He doesn’t really remember joining up but his wife arranged it and he just kept on receiving the phone calls when she passed away.

His wife used to take most of the Safety Register calls and she really enjoyed the conversations, having a chat with the volunteers, especially as she became housebound.

At 91 years of age, Stanley still doesn’t feel he has enough hours in the day. He loves woodcrafts and makes things, as well as gardening, using the computer and going out. He has support from the Council’s Home Help, his two daughters and neighbours, but says that the Safety Register “means that someone is interested in me”.

Stanley feels that the services for seniors in the City of Monash are “fantastic”. He wonders if he might be overdoing it sometimes, as one week he had three SEV events on consecutive days!

Stanley says it’s good that the Safety Register is “tied up with the police” and the afternoon tea with the police band was a way of being reminded of that connection. Knowing that the police have some of his details adds to his sense of security. He also appreciated having face-toface contact at the function with the volunteers who ring him. Stanley still has the Safety Register card on his fridge, even though it is nine years old and a bit faded. The card to carry in his wallet “seems to have vanished” but can easily be replaced.